European Year of Intercultural Dialogue

December 8, 2008 Updated: October 1, 2015
Epoch Times Photo

The Dalai Lama presented his speech in conjunction with the European Year of the Intercultural Dialogue event.

The Honorable Dalai Lama addressed members of the European Parliament during a festive plenary session in Brussels. He stated that he is a simple human being who wishes to live happily and well. He also said Tibet has no plans to secede from China, stating, “We don't want a separate existence, merely specific rights."

His speech was given in conjunction with the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. 

European parliament president Hans-Gert Poettering said, "The EU Parliament has always strived to let its voice be heard for human rights and human dignity. Freedom of religious practice is part of a human being's identity and therefore an inseparable part of human dignity. Because of this, the EU Parliament has always tried to raise awareness of Tibetan people's human rights.”

"Immediate and Meaningful Dialogue"   

The EU Parliament has ratified several resolutions where it urges the Chinese regime to begin immediate and meaningful dialogue, and to respect the Tibetans' religious and cultural identity and well as their human rights.

Pottering addressed Tibet's human rights situation, "What happened since March 10, 2008 in Lhasa and other cities is proof positive that time is urgent to commence honest dialogue, to arrive at a sustainable solution to the dilemma, without curtailing religious, cultural and human rights issues pertaining to Tibet's identity."

He added, “China is a large nation and an important partner with the EU, and its dealings with China must be open and honest and in accordance with their commonly held values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and freedom of expression. All these are based upon and must build on the underlying principles of human dignity.”

Poettering quoted the Dalai Lama who had said several years ago, "Each of us must learn not to be for himself, for his own family or his own nation, but work for the good of all humanity." 

The Dalai Lama said, "I am an uncomplicated person, one of six billion. Each individual, no matter from what background or skin color, what religion he practices or what social prestige he enjoys, wants to live happily, and each deserves to pursue to live a happy life." 

He is convinced that people place too much emphasis on material things and states, "True, we are materially enormously advanced, but many wealthy people are unhappy, in spite of it." 

He also spoke of religious harmony saying that “each religion proclaims a similar message, to arrive at mental peace. And such peace can give one inner strength of belief during difficult circumstances."

No Separation, but Genuine Autonomy 

Concerning Tibet, the Dalai Lama said that the Chinese regime's claims were false that the Tibetan people were planning to secede from the mainland.

He said, "We wish to remain with China, but at the same time be privileged to enjoy our own rights. We want genuine autonomy, not separation, only certain rights." 

According to him, those who support Tibet are not anti-China but are merely trying to create a harmonious, stable and unified society.
He said, “Where can one find unity without harmony? Peace can only be based on trust and give and take." He urged the EU to continue furthering their relationship with China, but point out the side issues.” 

European Year of Intercultural Dialogue  

Other nation representatives who have addressed the EU during this event have been the Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Bader Hassoun, UN Special Events Reporter Asma Jahangir, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomäus I, Jorge Sampaio, High Representative to the UN for the Alliance of Civilization, Sir Jonathan Sacks, and the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth.

This European Year of Intercultural Dialogue is meant to inspire and encourage Europeans to actively immerse themselves in other cultures and ways of life, in their personal lives, as well as in exchanges with other foreign nationals.

Read the original article in German